£1 million boost for charities

Chief Minister Lyndon Farnham Picture: ROB CURRIE. (37879118)

CHARITIES are due to receive an injection of cash “shortly” after the Chief Minister announced new funding for struggling organisations.

Deputy Lyndon Farnham said that £1 million would be released from dormant bank accounts into the Jersey Community Foundation.

And he said he hoped that another £1m would be released later in the year, following confirmation from fellow ministers.

Donations made to Jersey charities plummeted by 33% from £16.8m in 2021 to £11.2m last year, a recent freedom-of information request response revealed.

A recent Association of Jersey Charities survey also found that more than a third have been forced to scale back activities, while over half are surviving only by using their reserves.

A perfect storm of the Covid pandemic and cost-of-living crisis has left some charitable organisations on the brink, as demands on their services increase, operating costs become unsustainable and donations drop.

Deputy Farnham’s announcement in the States yesterday came in response to Deputy Louise Doublet’s question about whether appropriate funding would be directed to partner-organisations, who would be delivering on the actions recommended in the Violence Against Women and Girls report.

She asked whether he would “urgently” look at the funding needs of Freeda – formerly Jersey Women’s Refuge – which were not being met, despite a previous government commitment to fund 50% of that organisation’s costs.

Chief Minister Lyndon Farnham Picture: ROB CURRIE. (37879132)

The Chief Minister said: “We will work with the third-sector to provide funding, but I can’t give a cast-iron guarantee. We will do our best, and it is certainly a matter for States debate and for inclusion in a future Government Plan.

“I have visited many organisations and charities since taking office and seen that the challenges are shared by many organisations. The government is doing its very best to help them where possible.”

He continued: “I can announce that £1m is shortly to be released from dormant bank accounts into the Jersey Community Fund, and hopefully a further million, to be confirmed by the External Relations Minister, later in the year.

“The government is aware, and we are doing what we can to help within the restraint of our budget.”

Sanctuary Trust chair Tim Ringsdore previously said that he was in discussions with the government to source, for the first time, other streams of funding, as donations and reserves dry up.

Mr Ringsdore warned that if the homelessness charity was no longer able to operate, then the government would potentially “have to pick up the support that we provide the community”.

He added that that would be at a “significantly higher cost”.

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